use Bill 3059, co-authored by Rep. Skye McNiel, R-Bristow, is headed to the full House after being given committee approval this week. State law already requires convicted felons to provide a DNA sample. But there's a huge difference between an arrest and a conviction. Civil rights concerns, not to mention the cost — about half a million dollars just to set up the system — leave us hoping House members will turn thumbs down to this idea.
The search is on
Oklahoma City natural gas producers are drilling up a storm. Led by city-based Chesapeake Energy Corp., local gas producers have helped push the nation's rig count to historic levels. Former Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode, now head of the gas industry group American Clean Skies Foundation, said 81 percent of the 1,173 active rigs are searching for natural gas instead of oil. "This validates what we have been saying about production and exploration for natural gas increasing, not declining, as others would have us believe,” Bode said in a news release. In addition to Chesapeake, local firms Devon Energy Corp. and SandRidge Energy Inc. are running rigs at a brisk clip. Chesapeake alone has 141 active rigs, according to rig count compiler Baker Hughes. Of the 20 most active firms in energy exploration, all but three are independents like Devon rather than "major” oil companies.
Tar Creek triumph
Sen. Jim Inhofe had good news this week for people wanting to move out of Picher and other areas in the Tar Creek Superfund site. Inhofe, R-Tulsa, announced that the Environmental Protection Agency will fund the buyout of homes and pay for soil and water remediation in the area. Buyout offers at Tar Creek ended last year when federal money was held up by congressional wrangling. This new plan is expected to eliminate the need to go back each year to request the necessary funding. Inhofe got the ball rolling with EPA by inserting a provision in a water resources law last year. It took the senator a long time to buy into the concerns at Tar Creek. Since then, though, Inhofe has been a determined and effective leader in efforts to assist those who wish to move elsewhere.